By Ed Friedland
While few dispute Leo Fender being hailed as the father of electric bass as we know it, Ned Steinberger may well be the father of electric bass as we never imagined it. His very first collaboration with Stuart Spector in the mid 1970s produced the iconic Spector NS-1 bass, and in the years that followed, his innovative designs literally changed the shape of electric bass with a focus on ergonomics, outside-the-box materials, and improved function. The Steinberger L2 bass (introduced in 1979) was revolutionary in concept, technology, and design; the headless, graphite axe with a minimalist body found its way into the hands of pioneering players like Tony Levin, Andy West, Bill Wyman, and Jamaaladeen Tacuma. The L2 spawned a myriad of imitators and has become a defining image of the 1980s music scene.